Guidance on business reopening

As the country starts to make tentative steps towards reopening, the majority of our sector is still awaiting detailed guidance. However, over the last week we have received confirmation from DCMS and DEFRA that a small number of businesses in the visitor economy are now able to operate some outdoor elements of their businesses. We will continue to keep you up to date with the latest information on government announcements and guidance as it’s released and how this impacts your business.

You can find updated information on what businesses are required to remain closed here. 

The government had developed more detailed generic work place guidance which you can find here

  • Takeaway / delivery services Toggle accordion content

    Temporary measures so that pubs and restaurants can operate as hot food takeaways to serve people having to stay at home:

    • Relaxation of planning measures will be introduced as soon as possible and will apply for a limited period 

    • Currently planning permission is required for businesses to carry out this change

    • The measures will apply to hot food and drinks. Serving alcoholic drinks will continue to be subject to existing licensing laws.

    • Permitted development rights allow movement between one use class and another for example from a restaurant (A3) to a shop (A1) without planning permission.

    • The government will introduce a time-limited development right through secondary legislation (negative SI) to allow the temporary change of use of a pub (A4 - drinking establishment) and a restaurant (A3 - restaurants and cafes) to a hot-food take away for a period of up to 12 months

    • Businesses will need to let local planning teams know when this starts and ends.

    Detailed guidance for businesses operating takeaway and delivery services is available here.

    Tips for businesses include:

    • Minimising contact between kitchen workers and front of house workers, delivery drivers or riders, for example, by having zones from which delivery drivers can collect packaged food items.

    • Using front of house staff to serve customers purchasing food and drink, minimising the time they spend in the kitchen.

    • Creating a physical barrier such as a screen, between front of house workers and customers where possible.

    • Encouraging contactless payments where possible.

    • Limiting access to premises for people waiting for or collecting takeaways. Setting out clear demarcation for 2m distances for customers queuing. Asking customers to wait in their cars.

    • Asking customers to order online, on apps or over the telephone to reduce queues and stagger pick up times.

    • Making regular announcements to remind customers to follow social distancing advice and clean their hands regularly.

  • Accommodation providers Toggle accordion content

    Following the Prime Minister's announcement on 22nd March outlining further steps to tackle the spread of COVID-19, businesses providing holiday accommodation closed for commercial use with a small number of exceptions

    • The guidance on the closure of all non-essential businesses and premises applies to any business providing holiday accommodation including short-term lets such as hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, boarding houses and caravan sites.
    • The Government has also issued further guidance and advice for those providing hotel and other accommodation in the UK. An exception has been made for key workers, who can continue to stay in hotels or similar where required, and for people living in these premises as interim abodes whilst their primary residence is unavailable. Where people live permanently in caravan parks, or are staying in caravan parks as interim abodes where their primary residence is not available, they may also continue to do so.
    • Hotels and accommodation providers that are remaining open to house key workers, vulnerable groups and other exempted groups will still be able to serve food, subject to the social distancing guidelines (for example by providing a takeaway service, ‘grab and go’ service or room service).
    • Where hotels, hostels, and B&Bs are providing rooms to support homeless people, through arrangements with local authorities and other public bodies, they should remain open.
    • Those attending a funeral will be able to use hotels when returning home would be impractical.
    • Hotels are allowed to host blood donation sessions.

    Read more

  • Outdoor sport facilities Toggle accordion content

    From Wednesday 13 May 2020, any facilities associated with outdoor sport and physical activities are permitted to reopen on the basis that businesses feel ready to do so and if they can do so safely.

    This includes basketball and tennis courts, playing spaces like golf courses (public and private), playing fields and water sports. However outdoor gyms, playgrounds and outdoor swimming pools will remain closed.

    The Government has provided guidance for businesses which include: 

    • All activity should be consistent with the government guidance regarding health, social distancing and hygiene.
    • You will need to communicate clearly and regularly with members and participants, setting out what you're doing to manage risk, and what advice you're providing. Ideally, you should publish an action plan detailing all your plans to re-open safely.

    • You will need to communicate clearly your opening times and how people can safely access your facility, if relevant, for example through a booking or queuing system. 

    • The limit on gatherings - no more than two, unless members of the same household - means that it is unlikely to be possible to organise amateur events or competitions at this time.

    • Booking in advance, online or over the phone is preferable. Where this is not possible, and a venue has staff available to take bookings (for courts or rounds, for example), consider mandating contactless or at least card payment, to avoid handling cash.

    • Cleaning protocols should be put in place to limit coronavirus transmission in public places. It is advised that touch points (e.g. handrails, gates, equipment) should be particular areas of focus for increased cleaning.

    • Bars and restaurants will need to stay closed until further notice. See further guidance on business closures in England. If there is the capacity and resource to be in a position to serve takeaway food and drinks, then hot and cold food may be served for consumption off the premises (i.e. outside of the building).

    • Indoor facilities, apart from toilets and through-ways should be kept closed.

    • Using signs and posters around your facility to bring awareness to the government guidelines.

    • all forms of water sports practiced on open waterways, including sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, rowing, kayaking, surfing, paddle-boarding and the use of privately-owned motorised craft (in line with the guidance issued by the relevant navigation authority) are allowed - you can continue to use towpaths for walking, running and cycling, being mindful of other users and people living in boats along the water

    You can read the guidance in further detail here

  • Green spaces Toggle accordion content

    The relaxation of some lockdown rules means that people can now drive to outdoor open spaces, including beaches and beauty spots (irrespective of distance). Visit Kent has developed shared messaging with partners from across the county to encourage people to use these spaces safely and responsibly.

    Following several weeks of lobbying from Visit Kent and tourism colleagues, we are delighted that DEFRA has now updated the guidance on access to green spaces (link) to say that people can now visit gardens and land maintained for public use as an alternative open space to spend time outdoors. This means that ticketed outdoor spaces including gardens, parklands and nature reserves can now re-open and welcome visitors. Zoos and wildlife parks are however not allowed to reopen at this stage.

    People can now: 

    • take part in other outdoor sports and activities, including fishing - on your own, with your household, or with one other person while adhering to social distancing rules

    • drive to outdoor open spaces, including beaches and beauty spots, irrespective of distance - you should travel in a private vehicle, alone or with members of your own household

    • visit gardens and land maintained for public use as an alternative open space to spend time outdoors, although buildings and amenities such as cafes will remain closed and access may be limited to members or those with tickets to ensure social distancing. You should check ahead and follow social distancing guidelines

    • go swimming in either lakes or the sea as part of daily exercise provided that social distancing guidelines are observed - you cannot use public indoor and outdoor pools

    • take part in all forms of water sports practiced on open waterways, including sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, rowing, kayaking, surfing, paddle-boarding and the use of privately-owned motorised craft (in line with the guidance issued by the relevant navigation authority) are allowed - you can continue to use towpaths for walking, running and cycling, being mindful of other users and people living in boats along the water

    businesses should take note of the following guidelines: 

    Read more here

  • Retail spaces Toggle accordion content

    This week, the Government has also announced that all non-essential retail businesses will be able to open from 15th June.  This means that gift shops and retail spaces in theatres, museums, libraries, heritage sites and tourism sites, as well as amusement arcades can once again operate from this date.

    Businesses will only be able to open from these dates once they have completed a risk assessment, in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and are confident they are managing the risks. They must have taken the necessary steps to become COVID-19 secure in line with the current Health and Safety legislation.

    Hairdressers, nail bars and beauty salons must remain closed at this time.

    Tips for businesses include: 

    • Defining the number of customers that can reasonably follow 2m social distancing within the store and any outdoor selling areas. Take into account total floorspace as well as likely pinch points and busy areas.

    • Limiting the number of customers in the store, overall and in any particular congestion areas, for example doorways between outside and inside spaces.

    • Encouraging customers to use hand sanitiser or handwashing facilities as they enter the premises to reduce the risk of transmission by touching products while browsing.

    • Encouraging customers to avoid handling products whilst browsing, if at all possible.

    • Managing outside queues to ensure they do not cause a risk to individuals or other businesses, for example by introducing queuing systems, using barriers and having staff direct customers.

    Detailed guidance for businesses operating retail is available here



If you are intending to re-open all or part of your site, please do keep us updated on your plans along with any specific restrictions. We’re tracking all of the businesses that are looking to open their doors in order to help amplify your messaging on our B2C channels. We will of course always advise people to check your website ahead of visiting for the latest information.

It would also be useful if you could share and information, images or video showing the measures that you put in place to maintain social distancing or extra hygiene measures. This will help us to build consumer confidence and put them at ease by showing them what they can expect when they visit.

Get in touch with us here